MovieBob - Intermission
And Rohan Will Answer: Film Comes to the Defense of Games

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 29 Aug 2014 12:00
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Whether out of genuine concern or just spoiling for a fight, the point was they showed up -- from my perspective, it looked like the two "halves" of my Twitter/Facebook timelines suddenly became aware of each other for the first time, all at once. And while it may be a touch on the melodramatic side, my mind couldn't help but recall the big "Gondor calls for help" sequence from Return of the King, where the signal-fires light up across the mountaintops one by one, finally arriving to trigger Theoden's big applause line:

"...and Rohan will answer!!!"

And (most of) that was before a flurry of major gaming and nerd-culture icons including Tim Schafer, Neil Druckman, William Gibson and even Joss Whedon came out in support.

Not that there was any sort of grand victory, there never really can be when the fight is over imaginary conspiracies. The abuse and harassment continued apace. Anita Sarkeesian was forced to flee her own home by threats of violence credible enough for her to involve the police (possibly these ones). There is, somehow, apparently still some kind of protest on behalf of "Integrity In Games Journalism" (but really rather transparently aimed at the subject(s) of the original "cheating girlfriend" non-story) planned for PAX. People's Twitter feeds are still being choked by wave after wave of Egg and Unrecognizable-Anime-Heroine avatar'd accounts with few followers and poor grammar.

BUT! In the midst of all that, I believe that I saw the start of something positive. Failure to deal with the problems of isolation (or even to acknowledge that they are problems) has tainted the very idea of the word "gamer" perhaps beyond repair, but the same doesn't need to be true for the writers and critics and, yes, journalists who cover the medium. Video games are no longer a niche that needs to be bound to its own events, its own shared lingo or its own niche of the interweb (not that those things don't have their place). Over the last decade, gaming has taken its place in the broader pantheon of geek culture and just plain popular culture, and with that can come solidarity with the overseers and analysts of all other media. And that's potentially enormous.

Every other time a modern gaming controversy broke out within earshot of the film-geek set (or any other more established part of pop-journalism), what I saw was either indifference or dismissal. "Well, what do you expect? It's gaming." This time, it was different. This time is was recognized that there were good people getting chewed up in the maelstrom -- people who deserved the help and support of their peers... and got it. That's significant. That's important.

Because that means that good behavior is winning out over harassment and threats.

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